Directed By: John Crowley

Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Domhnall Gleeson, Emory Cohen, Jim Broadbent, Julie Walters, Jessica Paré, Eve Macklin, Nora-Jane Noone, and Emily Bett Rickards

Immigrant-themed period piece Brooklyn couldn't have had more perfect timing for its release.  It's a time when courts are blocking President Obama's executive action on immigration reform.  It's a time when Donald Trump and his fellow Republican presidential contenders are indoctrinating their base with the notion that they're going to somehow build a wall on our Mexican border if elected.  It's a time when governors around the country are symbolically declaring to keep Syrian refugees outside their state borders.  Yes, Brooklyn couldn't have had more perfect timing.  This tale of Irish immigration to the United States is a feel-good movie that runs counter to every other message currently in the public arena.  It's not bad being an outsider though because Brooklyn just so happens to be one of the best movies of 2015 as well.

Eilis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan) is a girl living in a small Irish town who lives with her older sister Rose (Fiona Glascott) and her mother (Jane Brennan).  Working for a rather rude shopkeeper who berates employees and customers alike, Eilis isn't living the most fulfilling life.  Things change for her, however, when Father Flood (Jim Broadbent) pays for her travels to Brooklyn, New York.  The priest arranges her room and board with Madge Kehoe (Julie Walters) and her employment at department store Bartocci working for Miss Fortini (Jessica Paré).  Ready for a more fulfilling life, Eilis jumps at the opportunity to turn a page in the book of her life.  She just has no idea how tough the trip will be.

Upon arriving in Brooklyn, Eilis is stricken with a serious case of homesickness.  She can't work at the department store with Miss Fortini without getting teary-eyed.  She can't get into the minutiae of her roommates' (Eve Macklin, Nora-Jane Noone, and Emily Bett Rickards) love lives with even an ounce of happiness.  She can't even take the classes Father Flood recommends for her.  All Eilis can think of is the life she left behind in Ireland with Rose and her mother.  Then, Italian immigrant Tony (Emory Cohen) walks into her life, and everything changes.  Though the Italians and the Irish don't exactly have love lost for one another at this moment in time, Eilis and Tony seem to be made for each other.  With Tony in her life, Brooklyn becomes home for Eilis.

With meaningful lives on both sides of the Atlantic for its lead character Eilis during a very different era, period drama Brooklyn doesn't offer a direct indictment of everything happening with regard to immigration policies stateside these days.  Given that we're talking about white immigrants as well, it certainly doesn't speak to the moment in a direct way.  All that being said, John Crowley's outstanding feature is still a film showcasing one of the things that intrinsically defines America, immigrants making their way to her shores.  It's the story of many Americans’ lives and their contributions toward this nation, and Crowley tells it in the most delightful of ways.  All about love and life, his film Brooklyn stands tall with The Martian, Bridge of Spies, and Room as one of the best movies of the year.

Crowley makes a period piece that functions as a feel-good movie but maintains the emotional depths of a more serious affair.  Yes, Brooklyn focuses on girls living in a board house.  Yes, the film boasts some strong costume and set design to harken back to the era.  Yes, the film is chock full of cultural elements of an America long gone. While all the features of a period piece are present, it's more about the personal story at hand.  Crowley deftly blends laugh-out-loud comedy with gut-wrenching drama to concoct one entertaining piece of cinema in Brooklyn.  In doing so, he tells a big tale in an intimate way.  He tells a timeless tale that is at times hilarious and at times heartfelt.

is an excellent movie that boasts a superb cast.  For her part as Eilis Lacey, Saoirse Ronan gives a terrific performance.  Growing up in front of our very eyes, Ronan's Eilis goes from a shy, homesick girl untrained in the ways of life to a confident young woman inundated and invigorated by love.  It's really a butterfly performance that's quite lovely to watch.  She's joined on screen by Emory Cohen and Domhnall Gleeson as her lovers.  The pair give starkly contrasting performances that create a very distinct choice for Ronan's Eilis.  For his part as Tony, Cohen is the unrefined blue collar worker in the big city who knows the world.  For his part as Jim on the other hand, Gleeson is the classy, wealthy bachelor who wants to see the world but has lived the small town life.  Both have their strengths and these actors bring them out in nuanced performances.

The supporting cast shines as well.  For her part as Eilis's mother, Jane Brennan gives a rather subdued, insular performance.  It's an intriguing performance as this mother who lives vicariously through her daughters and latches onto them for dear life.  We also have Jim Broadbent as the delightful Catholic priest Father Flood.  With a typically jovial disposition, Broadbent's character serves as a father figure for Eilis.  Then there's the strict Madge Kehoe portrayed by Julie Walters.  Running the girls of the board house crazy, Walters is absolutely hysterical and is easily my favorite cast member.  Lastly, we have some unusually amusing chatty roommates in Eve Macklin, Nora-Jane Noone, and Emily Bett Rickards.  All these girls bring a bubbly energy with their frequent comic relief at the dinner table.

Again, I say that this is the season for adaptations.  It's crystal clear.  Brooklyn, an adaptation of Nick Hornby's novel of the same name delivers the goods and certainly could be a major factor as the awards season progresses.  The Best Adapted Screenplay competition is really heating up.  Brooklyn is one strong contender in this group.  This superb period romantic drama gets a sober rating.  Don't miss this one.